SOURCE: Y & R

April 18, 2012 19:20 ET

Y&R Advertising and VML Kick Off U.S. Olympic Committee Campaign in Support of Team USA for London Summer Olympics 2012

Cohn & Wolfe Joins Integrated Communications Effort for U.S. Olympic Committee to Further Spur Donations

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - Apr 18, 2012) - Y&R Advertising and VML, along with Cohn & Wolfe, announced today the official launch of their integrated communications campaign for the U.S. Olympic Committee. The campaign called "Raise Our Flag," is focused on bringing the Olympic spirit to life towards the objective of raising money from individual donors in support of America's Olympic athletes. Communications include digital, PSAs, print, film, public relations and social media engagement.

"The campaign is critical to us because, unlike many countries, the U.S. Olympic Team receives no financial support from the government. We rely on the American people and corporate sponsors to support our Olympic athletes. 'Raise Our Flag' not only drives awareness, it tangibly embraces and empowers people to be the team behind the team," said Lisa Baird, USOC Chief Marketing Officer.

"Raise Our Flag," transforms the symbolic patriotism that the U.S. Olympics team evokes across the nation to a concrete measure of the support we can give the USOC Team. The campaign asks individuals to make $12 donations in the form of "buying a stich." Each stitch will be made on an American Flag that is being sewn specifically for the team to carry into the opening ceremonies in London.

The campaign is anchored at www.TeamUSA.org, the redesigned online experience developed by VML. The new site was created to contemporize the Olympic experience for longtime supporters as well as a new generation of fans and to allow users to customize their experience. At the forefront of the site, our national Olympic story is shared through personal stories and bold imagery of our athletes as they prepare for the games and participate in pre-Olympic competition. For the first time, TeamUSA.org serves as the portal for the U.S. Olympic team, the individual U.S. sport National Governing Bodies (NGBs), and the U.S. Paralympics team. For the next 100 days, leading up to the Olympics, donors can also watch the flag come to life on the site, which will be updated regularly.

"We are thrilled to have the combined force of Y&R Advertising, VML and Cohn & Wolfe behind Team USA," said Lisa Baird, USOC Chief Marketing Officer. "The campaign does a beautiful job of infusing the Olympic spirit into the minds of Americans, increasing the chances of support and success for our athletes."

"The U.S. Olympics team embodies the values we hold dear in America -- and our team instantly felt the excitement and importance of the USOC mission, as it unifies, celebrates and supports our nation's participation in the Olympics," said David Sable, Global CEO of Y&R. "We have a great story to tell and we are using innovative ways that bridge the digital and physical worlds to inspire everyday Americans to become part of the process and excitement from now till that magical moment when our athletes walk into the opening ceremony."

"The U.S. Olympic Committee challenged us to preserve the historical integrity of our remarkable Olympic story, while modernizing the experience for a new generation of digitally savvy fans," said Jon Cook, VML CEO and President. "As the excitement builds to the 2012 Olympics in London, the USOC is perfectly positioned to engage with longstanding and new supporters alike, through integrated online and social channels. The individual stories of inspiration and sacrifice by our Olympic athletes -- shared through compelling narrative, video and multimedia -- will be on center stage before, during and after the Olympic games."

Cohn & Wolfe will shine the spotlight on the unique and emotional journeys of Team USA athletes and the role Americans can play as part of the "team behind the team." The multi-faceted public relations plan is focused on reaching consumers through national media, bloggers, social platforms, celebrities and influencers. Grassroots programming, events and partnerships will bring together former and active Olympians, flag bearers and fans across the country -- and enable them to further share their stories. Activations are planned throughout the 100 days leading up to London to culminate with a Team USA sendoff celebration this July.

About the USOC
The U.S. Olympic Committee is recognized by the International Olympic Committee as the sole entity in the United States whose mission involves training, entering and underwriting the full expenses for the U.S. teams in the Olympic, Paralympic, Pan American and Parapan American Games. In addition to being the steward of the U.S. Olympic Movement, the USOC is the moving force for support of sports in the United States that are on the program of the Olympic, Paralympic, Pan American and Parapan American Games. For more information, please visit www.teamusa.org.

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Please contact the USOC Communications Division at (719) 866-4529.

About Y&R
Y&R is one of the leading global marketing communications companies. It is made up of the iconic Y&R Advertising agency and VML, one of the most highly regarded and fastest-growing digital agencies in the world. Y&R also includes specialized companies in every region, such as Bravo, Kang & Lee, SicolaMartin, BrandBuzz, Campaign Palace, Banner, to name just a few, as well as a new global marketing practice, Tech.YR.

Y&R's founder, Raymond Rubicam, believed that the company's mission was to Resist the Usual on behalf of our clients. Today, that is kept alive by melding top-flight creativity with innovation to create new consumer experiences.

Y&R's largest agency, Y&R Advertising, has 186 offices in 90 countries around the world, with clients that include Campbell's Soup Company, Colgate-Palmolive, Danone, NHL, Virgin Atlantic, Xerox, Revlon, GAP, Land Rover, LG and Telefonica, among many others.

About VML
VML is a global digital marketing agency with major operations on five continents. Since its founding in 1992, VML has been dedicated to delivering creative solutions at the intersection of marketing and technology.

VML engineers best-in-class digital experiences for some of the most respected and recognized brands in the world, including Carlson Hotels, Colgate-Palmolive, Dell, Ford, Hill's Pet Nutrition, Kellogg, Microsoft, Revlon, SAP, Southwest Airlines, T-Mobile, U.S. Bank, Western Union and Xerox. VML also supports a growing number of sports and healthy lifestyle clients, including Gatorade, English Premier League, Kansas City Royals, Kashi and Whole Foods.

In 2012, Advertising Age recognized VML as one of the top 10 standout agencies in the U.S. in its Agency A-List program. Headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., VML has principal offices in New York City, Seattle, London, Milan, Bogotá, São Paulo, Mumbai, Singapore and Sydney. Learn more at vml.com.

About Cohn & Wolfe
Cohn & Wolfe, a global communications agency, builds brands and corporate reputations through an uncompromising commitment to creativity. The agency's strategic approach unearths fresh, relevant insights leading to communications solutions that deliver measurable business success. Over its 40-year history, Cohn & Wolfe's award-winning brand marketing work and world-class digital media campaigns have attracted top brands around the world. In 2011, Advertising Age recognized Cohn & Wolfe's independent-minded, entrepreneurial culture, naming it one of the "Best Places to Work in Marketing & Media." The agency has more than 1,100 employees in over 50 offices across North America, EMEA, and Asia. Cohn & Wolfe is part of WPP (NASDAQ: WPPGY), the world's largest communications services group.

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